In this paper we present Bank Street’s approach as represented in a set of five inter-related principles. We begin by briefly describing the origins and rationale of teacher education at Bank Street. From this description we generate principles that emerge from Bank Street’s history and practice, linking each principle to classroom images of teaching and learning. Enactment of these principles can and must vary in response to changing circumstances, needs, and mandates. In our view, this necessary variation highlights the guiding function of an explicit set of principles to govern and ensure the consonance, validity, and legitimacy of new practices.

Author Biography

Nancy Nager has been a member of the Graduate Faculty at Bank Street College of Education since 1985. A developmental psychologist, she teaches child development to graduate students in education and has advised students in their field-based learning. Dr. Nager serves on the leadership team of the College’s five-year Teachers for a New Era project, an initiative to investigate and promote program renewal in teacher education. Her responsibilities include coordinating follow-up studies of Bank Street graduates’ practice, particularly focusing on cognitive complexity in teachers’ assignments and pupils’ work. Recent publications include (with Edna Shapiro) Revisiting a Progressive Pedagogy: The Developmental- Interaction Approach, an examination of the legacy of and future directions for Bank Street’s approach to education.

Edna K. Shapiro (1925-2005), Distinguished Research Scholar Emerita, spent the greater part of her career at Bank Street College of Education, which recognized her work with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1993. Joining the Research Department in the 1950s, Edna and her colleagues conducted a major study examining whether and how different kinds of schools affected children’s learning experiences. The collaborative product of that study, The Psychological Impact of School Experience, is considered a classic. Dr. Shapiro played a crucial role in developing and describing Bank Street’s developmental-interaction approach to the theory and practice of education, reflected in numerous articles and two co-edited volumes, Cognitive and Affective Growth (with Evelyn Weber) and Revisiting a Progressive Pedagogy (with Nancy Nager).



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